Apple's Vision Pro has the potential to be one of the most significant product launches for Apple in this decade. Marking the entry into an entirely new product category, it introduces a fresh software platform known as VisionOS, complemented by a matching app ecosystem. Given the groundbreaking nature of this release, Apple has approached its launch with extreme caution. The company opted to invite only a select number of journalists for in-person briefings and distributed review units to an even smaller group. These reviews were released on Tuesday, revealing the first details about this highly anticipated product. So, what do the reviewers have to say?
People are feeling cautiously optimistic overall. Scott Stein from CNET describes the technology as a "mind-blowing look at an unfinished future," and Nilay Patel from The Verge calls it "magic." The technology is receiving a lot of positive press. But, and it's a significant but, Patel warns us that the technology to replace our everyday computers isn't quite there yet.
The Vision Pro is a multifaceted gem, with aspects like display tech, sensors, user interface, comfort, weight, and accessories taking centre stage. It's a versatile device—a potential everyday work machine, a virtual extension of your physical computer, or just an entertainment, social, or gaming gadget. However, the hefty price tag and the lingering question of what comes next add an extra layer of intrigue. Let's break down these early reviews into some key points that everyone seems to have a strong opinion on.
1. Technology is great. It should come as no surprise that everyone is praising the VisionPros technological innovations. The hand-eye control interface is amazing, featuring razor-sharp displays and an amazing passthrough video feed with very little latency. Stein even goes so far as to call it his "best wearable display" to date.
2. It weighs a lot. After doing some calculations, it was determined that the weight of the device could fall anywhere between 21.2 and 22.9 ounces, depending on the configuration (this does not include the 353 gram battery). There have been reports that after thirty minutes of wearing it, it had a top-heavy sensation, which suggests that wearing it for extended periods of time might not be the most comfortable option. When it comes to headbands, customers have the option of selecting either a Solo Knit or Dual Loop style, and their preferences can vary greatly.
3. Personas Seem A Little Strange. The Vision Pro presents the idea of personas, or virtualized user representations. Although they are better than what Meta has to offer, reviewers think they are a little strange. Although Patel calls them "deeply weird and extremely uncanny," there is one bright spot: Apple is considering making Personas into beta software, which suggests that there may be room for improvement.
4. It works great for movies. If you are a movie buff, the Vision Pro may end up becoming your favourite device. Patel describes the experience of watching movies on it as "a ton of fun," and Stein suggests that the quality of the experience is superior to that of any television that he has purchased for his own home. Even 3D movies appear to find a place of comfort in this virtual world, as evidenced by the fact that some reviewers experienced chills.
5. The keyboard was having some issues. There are differing opinions about typing on the virtual, floating keyboard. It is useful for conducting speedy searches or typing brief messages, but it slows down the typing speed. To select a letter on a digital keyboard, users must either look at each letter and select it, or they must reach out and tap the virtual keys. The consensus? Not as fast as your trusty iPhone or a physical keyboard.
6. EyeSight is a Little Unsettling. EyeSight, a feature that displays a virtual representation of your eyes on the front of the goggles that come with the Vision Pro, has received a variety of responses from users. In spite of the fact that it appears to be appealing in Apple's promotional photographs, reviewers find it to be somewhat unsettling in real life. The word "uncanny" is frequently used, and there is widespread agreement that significantly more work needs to be done to improve this aspect.
7. In your virtual world, you are still alone. The Vision Pro may cause you to experience feelings of isolation, despite the fact that it has a passthrough video feature that keeps you connected to the real world. The experiences of wearing it are varied, with one reviewer recounting being so engrossed in a movie that his family found him detached from reality. Sharing experiences with others wearing the headset in the same room isn't a seamless affair yet.
8. It is an Early Look at What the Future May Hold. To get to the heart of the matter, not a single reviewer recommends the Vision Pro as a device that is suitable for the general public, not even for Apple enthusiasts. It's hailed as a glimpse into what's possible, a testament to the potential of future iterations. While it's undoubtedly powerful and intriguing, there's no killer feature yet that makes it a must-buy. As Stein succinctly puts it, "it's clearly not a device you need to get on board with now."
So, in a nutshell, the Apple Vision Pro is an exciting journey into the future, but it seems like we're not all ready to embark on it just yet.